Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Woman Alone

I just finished 10 days of travel and aside from the normal issues which I wrote about in the Tale of Two Lands I felt safe, secure and utterly ignored.  Well other than the patronizing comments "Are you okay?" I found few people looking my way unless they were in service occupations and are largely hostage to my comments.  And in turn many good things result of this such as gifts and free entrance to Museums and my enthusiasm and gratitude is duly reflected in my thanks. 

Now as for men and unwanted harassment I do not experience it.  I have not observed it or I would intervene or seek assistance and right there is the issue.  In this age of filming encounters I question how that does not make one complicit in the escalation of events versus trying to learn about people and who they are in relation to your community.  So calling Police when you see a "strange" person entering a park, a building, walking or sitting is a bizarre way of handling your own discomfort or bias.  Clearly traveling to a strange city or place would change much of this but then again this is the new world and tribal is as tribal does.   That invitation or action calling the Police may trigger more warnings than clearly a FUCK OFF can do with equal affect. 

I do meet many women and true we agree that "it" exists like the sewer dwelling clown just waiting for the chance to suck you in and most of us have experienced it.  I certainly have and it changed me but not enough to make me see suspicion in every male gaze or encounter.  So I just speak to people and hope that we have a positive exchange and I work to maintain as such in which to part amicably and me a better person for it.  Well exception to the rule is ironically here in Nashville where any exchange is looked at with doubt and with utter disdain. 

I miss having a male companion, someone who to share ideas, to travel, to laugh, to cry and to fuck.  Well maybe not the last one I think I am over it but if I actually met a man worthy of dropping my knickers that may be reconsidered but my experiences are clouded by my bias that all men only want to fuck and the rest is fucked to them.  If they could have a conversation with your vagina then its all good and that is the Catch 22 of age, men see me as "are you okay" and not "okay lets do it" anymore.

Women are alone until they have children and those are the roles we are to fulfill when you don't have them you are clearly a Lesbian or someone damaged as why wouldn't anyone want to breed with you.  And then all that energy and unconditional love falls to children and the spouse gets the leftovers or a dog so either way men are left to get their balls waxed by whatever means necessary.  Sorry men but I did meet two amazing dads and some hillarious conventioneer men who made me laugh and were truly a joy to share a beer with, that was it.  Boundaries can be easily set and maintained as I had a beer and called it a night.  The reality is that women are responsible for men and the sons you raise are your responsibility so do a reality check and see what you are teaching your sons and those who are with your children in social settings are in agreement about the messages they are providing, as we know now from Priests to Coaches there is a clearly a disagreement about what boundaries are and how to understand to set them and more importantly respect them.

Women we own it too.  So learn how to handle uncomfortable encounters, be a strong feminist and teach your children well, they grow up to be adults one day.   The peril right now is just being a woman not just one alone.  That is the fear that leads women into relationships that are neither healthy or safe either.   Stop being afraid, start living and be seen in the universe and then people will know you are "okay."  

The perils of being a woman who’s just asking to be left alone

By Monica Hesse
Columnist The Washington Post
August 27 at 7:00 AM

A woman I know was 53 years old the last time she rejected a stranger’s advances, and it went badly. A man on the New York subway kept asking her out, complimenting her breasts and butt, though he used more vulgar terms. When she told him she wasn’t interested, he pivoted to yelling, “I’m going to f--- you up, you fat bitch,” until she asked the other passengers to take out their cellphones and document what was happening. This was just a few days ago.

Another woman I know was 15 the first time she rejected a stranger’s advances, and the rejection went badly. This was several years ago. She was walking the family dog in a New England suburb when a man in a car pulled up and smiled. When she didn’t smile back, he started to follow her, slowly, down the street. After a block she cut through a random backyard and ran home, 10 minutes of panic while her happy dog thought the whole thing was an ad­ven­ture.

Last week, I kept reading essays about Mollie Tibbetts, the young woman killed in Iowa while out for a run. Her alleged attacker told police he started following her and that she got frightened by this and said she was going to call the police. That threat made him angry, he said, and then he blacked out and woke with her dead body in his car trunk.

I kept reading essays about what Mollie Tibbetts represents. Some commentators say she represents the need to build a border wall, and some say she represents the threat of toxic masculinity, and I’ve been feeling too useless to say anything, because I imagine that to her family, what Mollie represents is a person they loved who is never coming back.

But all this week, I couldn’t stop thinking about the things that have happened to the women I know. And the times they have carefully weighed the consequences of asking to be left alone.

A woman I know was in a bar with friends when a man asked if he could buy her a drink. She declined, and he angrily called her a “bitch.” She was alarmed, but she was also confused. Was she rude for rejecting him? Had she done something wrong?

A woman I know in New York once ignored a passerby’s order for her to “smile,” so he reached out and grabbed her crotch; she was 12. A woman I know in Maryland told a customer at the store where she worked that she had a fiance, but he still figured out her schedule and showed up repeatedly to harass her. A woman I know in Texas last week deflected a new acquaintance’s text message with an “LOL”; he then left her five enraged voicemails in a row telling her to “f--- off,” because he wasn’t laughing.

It could have been worse. These women kept saying it could have been worse. Online, you see stories: Caroline Nosal, 24, shot and killed by a co-worker after he was suspended when she complained he was sexually harassing her. Lakeeya Walker, 22 and pregnant, whose attacker choked and kicked her because she hadn’t thanked him after he held open the door.

Nothing that bad has happened yet to a woman I know, at least not that they’ve talked about.

A woman I’m close with once got on the bus after midnight for her night shift at work. After a few stops, a man her age got on, too. The bus was mostly empty but he chose the seat next to her and tried to strike up a conversation.

When she didn’t reciprocate, he said, “Hey, are you ignoring me?”

When she still didn’t answer, he grabbed her leg.

When she tried to stand up and move away, he yelled, “Hey, bitch, I’m talking to you,” and grabbed her again, this time violently.

She shook him loose, and the bus driver noticed what was happening, and made the bad man get off the bus, and as a thank-you, the woman baked the bus driver cookies the next day.

She later told me she was “amazed” that in a decade of taking public transportation, this was the worst thing that had happened. She expected something like it might happen again; it seemed a part of life.

Anyway, these are some things that happened to women I know. Or to my co-workers and relatives. Or to me.

And last week when we read about Mollie Tibbetts, a lot of us weren’t thinking about undocumented immigrants, or statistics, or policy changes. We were just thinking about the times we have been approached by strangers in everyday places, wondering if we could reject them politely and move on with our days or if this time we would end up in the trunk of a car.

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